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The medication-use process is highly complex with many steps and risk points for error, and those errors are a key target for improving safety. This Library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on medication and drug errors. Included resources explore understanding harms from preventable medication use, medication safety improvement strategies, and resources for design.

Glicksman E. Washington Post. December 11, 2021.

A successful patient/physician relationship enables care that is specific for the individual, their unique concerns, and distinct lifestyles. This article discusses patient choice in physicians as a strategy to reduce the impact of implicit ethnic bias, while arguing that fundamental change will occur only by reducing racism through system change.

Gebeloff R, Thomas K, Silver-Greenberg J. New York TimesDecember 9, 2021.

Nursing homes harbor numerous challenges to patient safety and they should be transparently reported and acted upon to ensure improvement. This news investigation discusses a gap in the reporting and inspection of nursing home incidents that undermines the ability of the US nursing home rating system to inform consumer long term care facility choice.

Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. December 2, 2021;(24)1-4.

Insulin is a high-alert medication that requires extra attention to safely manage blood sugar levels in chronic or acutely ill patients. This alert highlights look-alike/sound-alike packaging, delayed medication reconciliation, and dietary monitoring gaps as threats to safe insulin administration in emergencies. Recommendations for improvement are provided for both general in-hospital, and post-discharge care.

Ackerman RS, Patel SY, Costache M, et al. Anesthesiology News. November 21, 2021.

Blame is known to limit discussions of near-misses and failures, which negatively impacts learning and incident reduction. This article describes work to examine blameful context present in anesthesiology incident documentation, reducing its viability as a successful investigation record. Length of text was identified as an enabler of blameful orientation, and limitations as to word count were one strategy to minimize the use of punitive language.

Joseph A. Stat News. November 22, 2021

The opioid epidemic has put regulatory and professional pressures on the tapering of pain medications that have had unintended consequences for patients resulting in harm. This news story discusses how one family used legal means to address systemic gaps and clinical missteps that resulted in patient suicide due to lack of appropriate pain control.

Prasad V, Medpage Today. November 16, 2021.

The issue of system versus individual accountability can challenge the orientation of safety improvement efforts. This opinion piece discusses the importance of physician recognition of decision making mistakes and the downside of the evolution of morbidity and mortality conferences away from that approach.

Jewett C. Kaiser Health News. November 4, 2021.

Nosocomial infection is a primary concern due to the COVID pandemic. This news story examines instances when inpatients contracted, and sometimes died of, COVID-19 while receiving care for a different condition. It summarizes the challenges associated with collecting adequate data that completely document nosocomial spread of COVID-19 and its impact on patient outcomes.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. November 4, 2021;26(22); 1-4.

Delays in diagnosis and treatment during life-threatening emergencies such as strokes can result in irreversible patient harm. This article discusses a variety of factors contributing to errors in administering hypertonic sodium chloride in emergent situations. The piece shares recommendations touching on various elements of the medication delivery process to enhance safety.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. October 21, 2021;26(21):1-3.

Shortcuts in automated data entry behaviors have potential to result in errors. This article discusses search term length requirements for automated dispensing cabinets and the importance of doing a proactive failure analysis prior to implementing any system conditions to minimize unintended consequences of the rules that could detract from safety.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition.  September 9, 2021;26(18);1-5.

Disrespectful behavior is a persistent contributor to failures in medical care. This article summarizes influences that enable the acceptance and perpetuation of unprofessional behaviors and calls for data to assess its presence and impact in health care environments. The deadline for survey participation is now closed.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. October 7, 2021;26(20):1-4.

Production pressure and low staff coverage can result in medication mistakes in community pharmacies. This article shares reported vaccine errors and factors contributing to mistaken administration of flu and COVID vaccines. Storage, staffing and collaboration strategies are shared to protect against vaccine mistakes.

Bean M, Masson G. Becker's Hospital Review. October 4, 2021.

Staffing shortages can impact the safety of care by enabling burnout, care omission, and staff attrition. This article discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated an examination of how staffing challenges affect areas such as diagnosis, infection control, and organizational patient safety focus.

Clark C. MedPage Today. September 14, 2021. 

Patients who have access to their records often find errors that need to be corrected. This story highlights recent US policy changes requiring patient access to their records and explores the impact that requests for changes could have on getting records fixed to ensure accurate information is available to inform future care decisions.

Thomas K, Gebeloff R, Silver-Greenberg J. New York Times. September 11, 2021.

Nursing home medication misuse is a contributor to resident harm. This story highlights system influences such as staffing shortages, reporting failures and normalization of prescribing behaviors that coincide with the misuse of antipsychotic medications and overdiagnosis of schizophrenia.